Anyone who has seen ‘Skyfall’ will know that protecting your privacy is a serious issue; even James Bond can’t be everywhere at once, so if you want to remain safe online then you’re going to have to act like a secret agent yourself and tighten up your security. Now, we all love sharing photos of our latest adventures on Instagram – jumping from a motorbike on to a moving train, jumping on to the back of a moving tube, hell, jumping on to a moving skateboard is exciting enough for me – but there really are bad guys out there who may use your photographs for the purposes of evil, or an invasion of your privacy at the very least.
Luckily for you, we’ve got all 007 on this subject and have come up with five ways in which you can protect your privacy on Instagram.
1. The Name’s XXXX, XXXXX XXXX
Given that he is a secret agent, it always strikes me as odd that James Bond proffers his real name so often, even in this insouciantly cool fashion; whether you love the sound of your own name or not, its definitely advisable to avoid using it as your Instagram handle.
Given that Instagram has a public API, pretty much anyone can be pulling data from its servers and using them to create a supplementary service; therefore, any personal information that you put on there will potentially be accessible to anyone who looks hard enough; the most important thing that you can do is protect your own name.
Just come up with an amusing or clever sobriquet that your friends will understand and recognize but that does not give away the name on your birth certificate…and yes, #jamesbond is already taken.
2. Don’t Give Away Your Address
The geotag function on smartphones is a fantastic way to boast about where you are in the world; the Grand Canyon, Rome’s Coliseum, even a cheeky lunchtime pint in Wetherspoons can be prime Instagram material for earning bragging rights; however, if you tag your address in a hilarious picture of you next to your dog who is stuck in the cat-flap then you are essentially letting anyone and everyone know where you live, what you look like and that you’ve got a stupid pet who isn’t going to guard against any burglars. Keep your whereabouts hush hush, kapeesh?
3. Check Your Privacy Settings
This may seem like and obvious one, but you’d be surprised at how many people simply sign up to social media sites and never check to see what information they are allowing the world and his wife to access. As soon as you take a snap with the Instagram app, it will be published on your Instagram feed; unless you’ve changed the privacy settings on your account then anyone and everyone will be able to view it.
If you don’t want just any old Tom, Dick or Harry staring at the latest snap of you and your partner sunbathing at the beach then just flick on ‘Private Mode’ in Settings and turn the ‘Photos Are Private’ switch to ‘On’; you can then post as many bikini-clad pictures as you like, safe in the knowledge that it’s only going to be your friends and family that scrutinize you…
4. Block Followers That You Don’t Know
Once you’ve set your Instagram profile to ‘Private’, then you should be covered against any future creepy weirdos following your photo feed; however, if a few of these people got in before you made the privacy change then you may be stuck with some strange fans that you don’t really want…
This can all be taken care of by entering your profile and checking out your list of followers; scroll through the list and click on any user that you don’t know to view their profile and then touch the ‘Menu’ button in the top-right corner. This will come up with two options, including ‘Block User’ and ‘Report for Spam’, both of which are fairly self-explanatory; wave goodbye to the creepy weirdos!
5. Amend Your Facebook Settings
The fact that Instagram integrates so easily with Facebook is both canny marketing and very useful for those who want to share their photos with all of their social media friends in an instant. However, even if you take all of the necessary precautions in protecting your privacy on Instagram, should you be automatically sharing your photos with everybody on Facebook then it renders your previous security work irrelevant.
The easiest way to control who gets to see your photos on your Facebook page is by visiting your account andc licking the downward arrow in the top right hand corner of the page and visiting ‘Privacy Settings’; click ‘Control Your Default Privacy’ and select who you want to share your photos with; ‘Public’ means anyone and everyone, ‘Friends’ means, well, your friends on Facebook and ‘Custom’ allows you to create a bespoke list or select individual friends who have the honour of viewing your snaps.
This article was originally published on Inkifi, a unique website that allows users to print their Instagram photos onto a variety of canvases, frames and greeting cards; users can also sell their art via the website.